The financial impact of having a baby
They say the best things in life are free, but this adage doesn’t really apply to having a baby. We’ve put together some tips to help organise your money matters.
Starting or growing your family is a wonderful and exciting time, but it can also be difficult financially.
The cost of giving birth, scans, tests, equipment, maternity and baby clothes can really add up before your little one has even entered the world.
Then there’s the consideration of maternity leave from work; sliding from two incomes to one if you’re in a relationship, or working out a financial plan if you’re single and expecting.
We’ve put together some tips which may help you plan your family budget.
Talk about your plans
If you’re in a relationship it’s important to talk about the dynamics once the baby is born and work out who will be the primary care giver.
If you’re a single parent, it can be a juggling act trying to work out how to manage financially. Perhaps there’s a support person you could move in with or move closer to. Or maybe you will decide to work sooner.
It’s important to consider how much income you’ll have, how much time you can take off and whether there are changes to your spending that will help.
The cost of doctor’s appointments, scans and specialists can add up very quickly when having a baby.
It’s also a big decision to decide whether you want to have your baby in a public or private hospital, at home or at a birth centre.
Bupa Beginnings is a free and interactive guide to help navigate the Australian health system when having a baby. It’s a resource that is open for anyone to use, even if you’re not a Bupa member.
Buying for the baby
While you may be tempted to blow the budget on the latest and greatest baby accessories, don’t be fooled by clever marketing - not everything is essential.
Do the research and work out what the essentials are, and what you’ll actually use. Perhaps a member of the family or a friend has some items they no longer need.
It’s important particularly for first time mums, to question every purchase. If you’re unsure of what you may need perhaps talk to an experienced parent whose opinion you trust.
Who doesn’t love buying baby clothes? They are so tiny and so gorgeous, but they can also add up to be quite expensive, particularly when you consider how quickly babies grow.
Buy a variety of sizes and don’t buy too many outfits for tiny newborns. They grow quickly and you can always roll up the sleeves or pants, but you don’t want your bub wearing something too tight and constrictive.Put the call out to friends and family for hand-me-downs, look out for sales when it’s out of season or if you can sew why not make your own little outfits?
Make a budget
Sit down with a pen and some paper and work out your projected income and expenses. Be brutally honest about what you’re spending and be careful not to underestimate any future costs.
Research child care costs or baby sitting and medical expenses.
Don’t forget to include the cost of things like nappies, wipes and baby wash which can quickly add up. Put together a weekly or monthly estimate and include it in your budget. It’s always better to overestimate than be left short.
Depending on your income and circumstances you might be eligible for government assistance before or after your baby is born.
If you’re over budget perhaps there’s a big ticket item you could put off buying, or maybe you could restructure loan repayments or even make simple lifestyle changes like eating out less or by bringing a packed lunch to work.